Polaroid is not dead. Many lovers of the iconic instant-photo brand have been wishing and hoping this were true for years now, as the cameras have become collectors' items and the film for them more and more scarce. But now, as Fast Company reports, a startup based in a Hayes Valley basement is hoping to fully bring the brand into the digital age in a way that no one has been able to do so far, via an app called Polaroid Swing.

Using the tagline "The photograph, reimagined," the app works like this: You shoot a photo just like you would with Instagram or iPhoto, and the app captures 60 frames in one second, creating the briefest of moving images that is less like Apple's Live Photos (which are three seconds long) and more like a very brief GIF that can also be viewed as a still image. You have to swipe across it, you see, to see it in motion.

Observe (mouse or swipe over from left to right or right to left):

The cofounders of Polaroid Swing are Frederick Blackford and Tommy Stadlen, two Londoners who relocated to San Francisco after securing the rights to the Polaroid name, as well as an investment stake from what remains of the company in Minneapolis — which now is primarily a licenser of intellectual property. They also caught the attention of Twitter cofounder Biz Stone, who signed on as chairman and as an investor.

Though the physicality of Polaroid snapshots remains something that many photo geeks still long for and adore, this app may end up being a new path for the brand to regain wider relevance in the age of Instagram — which, incidentally, used the image of Polaroid's OneStep camera and its rainbow insignia as its original logo, and borrowed some of its washed-out filter aesthetics from the look of Polaroid film.

Blackford and Stadlen have been careful to avoid too many comparisons to Instagram by keeping the number of filters down to four, and focusing on the clean interface and unique motion aspect of the app. "We really wanted to keep this simple and make it about the new medium," Blackford tells Fast Company. "There's enough cognitive overload to begin with."

As for reintroducing Polaroid hardware and film, that could still be in the cards down the line, if the app is successful in monetizing itself. Since the original Polaroid company declared bankruptcy twice and was sold several times in the last decade and a half, ultimately ceasing production of Polaroid film over five years ago, other companies have stepped in to produce a couple types of Polaroid instant film that you can still find, along with occasional vintage boxes of Polaroid brand film, on Amazon. There remains a niche market for the film among photographers young and old who have vintage OneStep models — and as we just learned a few weeks ago via the New York Times, a giant-format (20x24 inch) version of the instant film used primarily by artists, has now basically ceased to exist as well, with just a few stockpiles hidden in studios.

For now, the Polaroid Swing app remains free and ad-free, though it appears to still have some bugs — I was not able to sign in with email or with Facebook when I just tried after downloading it, and the terms and conditions link came up with an error on the iPhone. So, be patient for an update if you're dying to take some brief moving images.

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